Ryan Maxwell shown next to his school's remembrance sign.
New Details Emerge
UPDATE 03/10/13: The Register-Mail published two updates Sunday that help clarify family relationships and the events leading up to the fatal dog attack. Ryan was brutally killed by a pit bull while visiting the home of Susan Ferguson on Whiting Avenue on March 2. The Ferguson family had two pit bulls; police shot the dog, named Ghost, that attacked Ryan. Ashiya Ferguson, Susan's daughter, surrendered the other pit bull pledging, "I will never own another pit bull again."1
The two pit bulls belonged to Ashiya Ferguson and Jereme Carter. Last August, Carter was arrested and charged with the shooting death of Terrell Allen in Galesburg. After his arrest, Ashiya and the two dogs moved to her mother's home at 675 Whiting Avenue.2 Galesburg Animal Control responded to two complaints between December and February that the dogs were left neglected out in the cold. By the time officers arrived, the dogs had already been taken back inside.
Ashiya denies her pit bulls were neglected and that Ghost was dangerous.
Ryan's mother, Sarah Mead, has a 1-year old child with Jeffery Ferguson, Ashiya's brother. An earlier article described Jeffery as his mother's fiancée. It was Jeffery who invited Ryan to go to Skate Palace then spend the night with family members who live at the Whiting Avenue home. Ryan's 1-year old brother also spent the night. On Saturday afternoon, following the evening of skating, Ryan played with Ashiya's two youngest children, 7 and 8, in the backyard of the home.
Ghost was chained to the deck in the back of the home, but "somehow" managed to break free. The pit bull then launched a lethal assault on Ryan -- clamping onto his throat -- just outside the home's rear sliding glass door. Ashiya said that nothing could free the boy from the dog's jaws. They kicked the dog; hit it with shovels and the butt of a BB gun. "I couldn't believe it was Ghost," Ashiya said. "Oh God, it was so horrible. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't stop it."
Keen observations of a dog breed selectively bred to perform exactly this way.
03/05/13: Mother Breaks Down
Painful details continue to emerge in the wake of Ryan Maxwell's horrific death. The Register-Mail reports events leading up to the fatal pit bull mauling. Ryan had been invited to go to Skate Palace then spend the night with friends who live on Whiting Avenue. It was Ryan's first and last time to ever roller skate. On Saturday, he was viciously attacked by a pit bull residing at the Whiting Avenue home. The animal still had the boy clenched in its jaws when police officers arrived.
Sarah Mead, the boy's mother, said the reality of her son's death had not set in. But she broke down when being interviewed. "I have to go to the funeral home at 1 p.m. today," Sarah said. She started to cry. "Not my baby. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right. Words can’t describe how I feel right now. I have never felt this much pain in my life." Sarah's mother, Tina Mead, said they were all at the hospital, when doctors couldn't revive Ryan. Sarah had to give them permission to stop.
After that, Ryan was in a room and Sarah and I went in there to lie with him. To be with him. Half of his face was gone. And all of his throat. They had a wash cloth over half his face and his throat covered up. This thing did that to him. This thing just took our heart. It just took our soul. - Tina Mead
Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Hinchliff-Pearson-West Galesburg Chapel, with services at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
View Related video3
03/04/13: Teacher Interviewed
In a solemn update, WQAD interviews Ryan's teacher at Nielson Elementary School. Ryan was in the second grade. The video images of his teacher talking, the school hallway lined with small coats and Ryan's desk, overflowing with cards and stuffed animals left by his classmates, come too soon after Sandy Hook. The school is providing grief counselors for the students, staff and parents to help them cope with the sudden loss of Ryan, horrifically struck down by a pit bull.
A memorial fund was established at Ryan Maxwell Memorial Fund, in care of F&M Bank, 21 East Main Street, Galesburg, Illinois 61401.
03/03/13: Dog Owner Blames Self
The owner of the pit bull that savagely killed 7-year old Ryan Maxwell told CBS4 news on Sunday that her family tried everything they could to get the dog off the boy, including using a shovel and a lighter. "My son pushed me out the way and just ran up there and start beating the dog and I could just see the dog had this baby," said Ashiya Ferguson. She said her family has had the dog for a year and a half, but yesterday, amazingly, they saw a "completely different side" of the animal.
To repeat once again, what we have written so many times on this website:
The behavioral characteristic of pit bulls to grab ahold of things and shake it until its dead occurs when the dog enters into sexual maturity, about 1.5 to 2 years old. This is not debatable.4
The family will never forget the screaming and brutality of the scene, of having to witness their own dog relentlessly maul a child, reports CBS4. "I feel guilty I blame myself. I'm sorry and I feel so bad," said Ferguson. The owner said she takes responsibility for what happened and prays it will never happen to anyone else. Her words, however, arrive too late -- the boy is dead. Likewise, as a pit bull owner, Ferguson was perfectly aware of the breed's horrific reputation for killing.
Q: How many times did Ashiya Ferguson recite pit bull myths in the last 1.5 years?
03/03/13: Dog Kills Visiting Child
Galesburg, IL - In a developing story, a 7-year old boy was mauled to death by a dog on Saturday. Police responded to 675 Whiting Avenue just after 1 pm to a report of a child attacked by a dog. Officers arrived and found the dog still biting the boy. Once the officers "disengaged the dog" the animal turned on them. Police shot the dog to prevent further attacks on officers or others nearby. The boy was taken to Galesburg Cottage Hospital, where he died from his severe injuries.
According to the news release from the Galesburg Police Department, the boy was visiting the home and playing in the backyard when he was attacked. KWQC reports that investigators described the dog as a pit bull. Investigators also believe the dog was restrained prior to the attack, but managed to break free. Police are withholding the boy's name pending notification of family. Notably, police arrested a man for armed robbery at the same residence last October.
2Later the same night, after Terrell Allen was shot to death, Ashiya was in a parked car in front of her and Carter's home when an unknown number of assailants open fired, riddling the car with 11 bullets. Ashiay and Carter understand deadly violence all too well. Golden retrievers or poodles wouldn't interest this couple.
3Paula Johnson, the boy's great-aunt, used "dogs" in plural form in the video. Thus far, via online research, we believe at least two family members owned pit bulls, but it is unknown if both dogs were present during the attack.
4What is debatable is how often, if ever, breeders of pit bulls and groups that adopt out young pit bulls ever share this information with the buyer or adopter. Doing so would deflate the myth, "It's all in how you raise 'em!"
01/11/13: 2012 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
12/16/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills 2-Year Old Girl; Nearby Restrictions...
I went to the original article and was pleased to see that most of the comments thus far have been supportive of the family and are AWARE that the offending dog was a pit bull, even thought that author of the article probably was too afraid to say it. Of course, at the bottom, there is a typical "Of COURSE, it's tragic, but you know, it would have been ANY breed!" Then they go on with their pit-loving nonsense.
It doesn't seem to matter what happens in the news. I can't see to convince ANYONE that something that requires a break stick to stop a fatal dog attack is not something that should be kept as a pet. Even pit bull proponents say that you SHOULD NOT use a break stick on any other dog breed as it will seriously injure the dog. Does that not tell you that maybe, pit bulls are different from other dogs? Seems like common sense to me.
It's a good thing that I read this, tragic thought it is. I have been looking for another job lately. I volunteer at a (legitimate) no-kill shelter for cats and small animals, and I absolutely love it. I saw a job posting for another shelter that was close to home and I thought it was a dream come true. The problem is I found out that they are up to their eyeballs in pit bull propaganda and that they take in pit bulls from dog fighting operations, "train" them, and re-home them. It was crushing, and I hemmed and hawed, thinking that if I wore a mask, used a break stick, etc. I would be safe. Ultimately, I decided to decline because ethically, I can't be part of someone getting injured or killed because some pit hole shelter thought it was a great idea to home a fighting dog with a baby or kitten. I also can't risk my own safety working with those kinds of dogs. I have no idea what training or equipment, if any, the shelter requires in order to handle these pit bulls, but it looks like none. After all, if they are just like other dogs, why bother? In the event that I DID get injured, the other pitiots would probably blame me and do nothing to help me. For minimum wage and no benefits, it's just not worth it.
The people need to contact the publisher and editor of that newspaper and ask them why they chose to protect the interests of the dog breeder business lobby by hiding and suppressing the status of the offending dog.
This is business interests trumping media ethics and trumping public safety.
Ah, here it is! I know we were all waiting on pins and needles for "the excuse":
The Director of the Knox County Humane Society, who would not go on camera, did tell us that pit bulls have a bad reputation for being an aggressive breed, but she said an animal is what an owner makes it.
This dog had never shown aggression according to its owner, but the AC implies she abused it to make it attack Ryan Maxwell.
So, pit bulls have to be abused in order to attack? Yeah, sure. Just like retrievers need to be abused in order to retrieve.
Epic fail, animal control.
As the family begins speaking and this prescious child's personality is made known, this gets very sad. Each mauling death seems to be more horrific than the last. But they're all so horrific!!!
STAY STRONG, COLLEEN, IT LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER CHILD HAS BEEN MAULED TO DEATH IN WISCONSIN. THIS TIME IT IS A 14-MONTH-OLD BABY !!!
Please take a look of the Illinois Pit Bull DBRF map….If you inspect the AVMA headquarter icon just outside Chicago, note that it is almost completely obscurred by red Pit Bull DBRF balloons.
I once read a vet tech comment that every time Aunt Millie drops $5K having FiFi sewn back together after a Pit Bull gripping, that the Vet can retire a month earlier.
*DISCLAIMER…THIS HAS BEEN IMPORTANT PUBLIC SAFETY MESSAGE
A mother allowed her daughter and a murderer's fighting dogs to move into her home.
What kind of dogs would a murderer, a selfish person who hurts other people, choose to have?
Fighting breeds. Pit bulls.
Who would let these dogs into their home?
We are seeing a repeat pattern year after year. The watercolor artist lady was another one.
Children and grandchildren pushing pit bulls into their parents and grandparents homes, to hurt their own relatives and take advantage.
Parents and grandparents must say no to being put in this situation.
There is a reason that others aren't allowing these dogs on their property.
A newspaper story details how Ryan's favorite TV show was Finding Bigfoot. Local people contacted Discovery's Animal Planet, that produces and airs the show, and they agreed to dedicate an episode to Ryan.
Does anyone see the hypocrisy of a cable TV channel that routinely produces and airs shows dedicated to lobbying for pit bull breeders and dealers?
Many of Animal Planet's shows have been little more than advertisements for pit bulls, fighting breeds, deceiving the public with myths designed to cover up the problems with these breeds, and ignoring the deaths and injuries for children, in the TV channel's drive to exploit these dogs and allow the pit bull industry to create mayhem in society that takes away other people's rights and lives.
Animal Planet has helped to enable the pit bull industry to prey on children, in their quest for profits.
There seems to be a disconnect among middle class and poor people that don't understand that the rich pit bull lobbyists and a media that caters to them are manipulating society and destroying their children with this neverending pit bull propaganda and promoting.
Regarding the recent update-
Last week a gal was killed by a lion at a big cat sanctuary. The family is distraught but understand the lion was just being a lion.
Indeed the pit bull was just being a pit bull, doing what pit bulls are supposed to do.
The big difference here is that there are not multi million dollar business placing lions into homes and convincing people that its just how you raise them.
I got my cuddly lion as a cub and he wouldn't hurt anyone! He'd rather lick you to death! It's all how you raise them. Only abused lions attack.
U R racist against lions.
2009 Galesburg Pit Bull article…They knew they had a pit bull attack problem a few years ago:
Fourteen dogs, all pit bulls, were deemed dangerous in 2008 and 2009 to date. Only one person opted to pay the extra fees to continue to own the dog. The others were either surrendered to the animal shelter, or given away. There are currently two dangerous dogs, one pit bull and one Labrador retriever, that are being kept and paid for in Galesburg
PREVENT THE DEED, REGULATE THE BREED